tv The Last Word MSNBC August 22, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
the last word with melissa harris-perry in for lawrence o'donnell starts right now. the president's strategy to support rebels in libya appears to be working, but opposing it may be easier with working with republicans. >> it's clear that gadhafi's rule is over. >> the city is now full of celebrations. >> president obama's libyan strategy is working, even though republicans say it's not. >> it's such a validation, really, of the administration's strategy. >> the president's approach certainly seems to have been the right one. >> the president is expected to speak momentariry. >> relinquishing power to the people of libya. >> not one american fighting man or woman got hurt. >> members of the gop criticized the strategy. >> they are always very quick to criticize the president. >> balk when they decided this plan, balk. >> the president's biggest political battle is still the economy.
>> this is about 2012. what can the president do on the economy? >> we can't touch tax cuts for the wealthy. >> we don't like hiring in this country anymore. >> we'll allow $1,000 tax increase on the average american. >> one republican is trying to prove he lives in reality. >> jon huntsman has a new strategy. >> anti-science party. >> ask why he doesn't believe in science. >> we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution. >> we teach creationism and evolution. >> the wrong side of science. >> and mitt romney's economic reality is unreal. >> he's tearing down his 3,000 square foot house to build an 11,000 square foot house. >> your biggest problem today is how to expand one of your houses. >> how many americans right now can afford to bull doze their beast-sized home? >> tone deaf? >> this is governor romney's stimulus plan. >> corporations are people, my
friends, human beings, my friends. >> good evening from new york. i'm melissa harris-perry in for lawrence o'donnell tonight. right now it's very early in the morning in the libyan capital of tripoli. rebel forces say they control about 95% of the city, but there's still fierce resistance from small pockets of pro-gadhafi forces. this video shows opposition forces coming under fire at a former military academy in central tripoli. while dangerous flare-ups like this one are expected, there remains a tense calm throughout the city and country. the opposition's political party insists that the real moment of victory wouldn't come until gadhafi was captured. now, there are reports that nato-led forces are bombing the gadhafi compound tonight, and a few hours ago, tanks left gadhafi's compound to try to stop the rebel forces.
there were also some reports of pro-gadhafi snipers around the city, and two of the libyan leader's sons are in custody. we learned the third that was reportedly detained has been seen by reporters in tripoli. leaders from around the globe are calling on gadhafi to step down. as for gadhafi's whereabouts, u.s. officials think he's still in libya, possibly held up in a tripoli military compound still under the regime's control, but we don't know whether or not that's true for sure, and president obama, who is on a working vacation with his family in martha's vineyard spoke earlier today. he pointed to the successes of the united states and our allies as well as, of course, the libyan people. >> an unprecedented coalition was formed that included the united states, our nato partners, and arab nations, and in march, the international community launched a military operation to save lives and stop gadhafi's forces in their tracks. in the early days of this
intervention, the united states provided the bulk of the fire power and then our friends and allies stepped forward. gadhafi was cut off from arms and cash, and his forces were steady degraded. from benghazi to the mountains, they courageously confronted the regime and turned in their favor. for over four decades the libyan people lived under a tyrant. now the celebrations that we've seen in the streets of libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator. >> the president also paid tribute to those americans who'd lost family members from acts of terrorism from gadhafi's regime and thanked our nation's military. >> we also pay tribute to admiral sam lockly and the men and women in uniform who have saved so many lives in the last couple months.
they've executed their missions with skill and extraordinary bravery and all was done without putting a single u.s. troop on the ground. >> stop. let's hear that last line one more time: >> all of this was done without putting a single u.s. troop on the ground. >> so despite the successes of the obama white house' strategy in libya, protecting forces from danger while simultaneously helping the opposition take control of libya, the president is getting absolutely no support or credit from republicans. in fact, a condescending statement was released "the end of gadhafi's regime was made for -- we also commend our british, french, and other allies and the united arab
emirates. americans can be proud of the role our country has played in order to defeat gadhafi, but here we go, we regret the success was so long in coming due to the failure of the united states to employ the full weight of our air power." so that's well-done libyans, thanks britain, france, all our allies and air partners, sentiments that are well deserves, and america, we guess. i don't know if i've ever seen the word "failure" in a congratulatory statement before. many were quick to pile on. lawrence korb joins me to discuss the policies in libya in a few minutes, first, richard engel is in tripoli with the latest on the rebel forces' efforts to completely control that city. >> we are now in tripoli's green square, and it was in this square gadhafi promised to crush
this rebellion, now the square is controlled by rebels, they have been coming in and out of here all day, celebrating their near-complete takeover of tripoli. it was a day of embraces, cheers -- >> gadhafi die! >> and, of course, celebratory gunfire. libyans this morning poured into tripoli to see what they thought was their fully-liberated city. >> the city is under the seize and control of rebels. >> rebels were greeted like heros, some kissed the ground in thanks. the outpouring of emotion wasn't only in tripoli. in benghazi, the rebel capital saved by rebel intervention, and mizrata, a city nearly destroyed. >> my life starts now.
>> libya is freed finally. >> nationwide, they tore moammar gadhafi's all-green flag and paraded the rebel's tri-colored banner. nearly all signs of state control here are gone. libyan government tv is off the air. but away from the celebrations, tripoli is still at war. >> there's many snipers from gadhafi. >> the rebels hold about 90% of the city, but don't control gadhafi's compound, fortified like an army base. we're just about 300 yards from gadhafi's compound, it's at the end of this street. loyalists inside have been firing tanks and mortars to defend it, making a final stand. it's unclear if gadhafi is still inside, his whereabouts are unknown. >> he played his last card, if you can say, his last game. even his big car and army, they lose control. >> rebels are preparing to take the compound and have it
surrounded. a day that began with such joy ended with a realization. these rebels still have fighting to do. and melissa, the rebels here have already changed the name of the square from green square to mortar square. >> now joining me for more on the politics surrounding the situation is lawrence korb, thanks for joining us. >> nice to be with you, melissa. >> lawrence, i think anyone who saw me in the first segment knows this is not my area of expertise, foreign policy. that said, i do know a little bit about american domestic politics around foreign policy, and i have to say that statement from john mccain and lindsey graham was frankly pretty shocking to me, the statement about americans can be proud of the defeat but regretting that
the success was so long and coming due to our failure. what are we to make of a statement like that from the out party, from the republican party? >> well, it shows that they were wrong, because they assume that unless we put, you know, troops on the ground or unless we did all of the bombing that, you know, we couldn't succeed, and this did succeed, because we were patient and they don't want to admit they were wrong. you know, they should have looked at benghazi today, there were banners there that said thank you, obama, as well as prime minister cameron and president czar kuo -- -- sure, we overthrew the regime in three weeks, but nearly a decade later, we're still having americans dying there. >> it seems to me that part of the politics here might have to do with where the president has control. there's a lot to criticize on unemployment, on the economy, but the fact is on domestic
politics, the president has to work with congress. isn't it true that in terms of foreign policy, this is actually where the president has relatively more autonomy and that the record over the past three years is what better here, the death of osama bin laden, heck, back to the first 100 days of the shooting of the somali pirate up to now, the potential overthrow of gadhafi, is there something here about when the president has some autonomy it seems to turn out better? >> well, there's no doubt about it, and traditionally, the democrats have been seen as weak on defense and the republicans have been the strong party on national security, but obama gets bin laden, what do they say? it was really bush's torture that got bin laden, he stepped up the drone attacks along the border of afghanistan and pakistan, killed scores of leaders, afghanistan was falling
apart because the bush administration was so fixated on iraq, so they don't want to give him any credit because they feel this will kind of undermine their narrative, and you're quite right, where he can do it by going after bin laden, even the secretary of defense didn't want him to do that, but he took a courageous stand. because if that back fired, he'd be in a lot of trouble. >> you made the comparison between libya and iraq, we certainly know how they compare in terms of lives lost for americans, how do they fare in terms of dollars and the impact on our budget? >> here's where i think obama, people have said we're broke, we can't afford these things, this whole operation has cost us at most about $1 billion. iraq is up to $2 trillion. why not let the international community get involved in they are the ones that rely on the oil as well as us. they are concerned about instability in that part of the world, and, you know, when we went into iraq under false
pretenses, that enhanced the al qaeda narrative and created a lot more terrorists. here we had the arab lead urging us to go, nato, as the sign in benghazi said, it's pro-american feeling. >> that's certainly a different affect than what we've had in iraq. lawrence korb, thank you so much for joining me tonight. >> thank you for having me. >> thanks. coming up, if you think the gop is against ever raising taxes, think again. there's one they are fine with, and we'll explain that. i got to tell you, i want the problem of one of the republican candidates. 3,000 square feet on the ocean just isn't enough for mitt romney. he's planning on quadrupling the size of one of his houses, one of them. comes centrum silver, with vitamins and minerals balanced to support your energy and immune function. everyday benefits from advanced formulas. discover the complete benefits of centrum silver.
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to spend. >> that was president obama in his weekly address urging congress to extend payroll tax rates that he signed into law last december. now, for those who are still employed, you might have seen the payroll tax on your pay stub. here's how it works. last year employees paid 6.2%, employers also paid 6.2%. as part of the compromise passed in december, the employer contribution stayed at 6.2%, but the employee contribution dropped to 4.2%. this puts an average of $1,000 into the pocket of each american worker. now, if the payroll tax holiday is not renewed before january 1st, the percentage returns to 6.2% for employer and employee. here's the thing, workers pay the tax on the first $1,680 of
their wages. this is nice if you're wealthy but means nothing if you're one of the millions of americans that makes more than $106,800 per year. as warren buffet wrote in the new york times, the mega-rich pay 15% on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing on payroll taxes. it's a different story for the middle class. typically they fall into the 15% and 25% income tax brackets and they are hit heavy with payroll taxes to boot. so president obama's essentially pushing to extend a tax cut. you'd think he would have no trouble finding support for this or any tax cut in the republican party. all but 13 of the 287 republican members of congress have signed grover norquist's pledge to oppose all tax increases, including closing loopholes, would a pledge signer violate that oath if he or she let the
payroll tax cut expire? well, not technically according to the logic of norquist applied to the question of extending tax rates, norquist governs how you vote, there's no vote on the payroll tax rate and it expires, that's technically not a violence. that said, letting tax cuts go up on americans absolutely violates the anti-tax principle of this pledge. to quote eric cantor in his "washington post" -- more money out of the pockets of business people. republicans should support extending the payroll tax cut, but they don't. republican congressman jeb henserling told the associated press, "it's always a net positive to let tax payers keep more of what they earn, but not
all tax relief is created equal." the reason some republicans do not believe the payroll tax cut stimulates the economy is because it's not permanent. in june, paul ryan called the tax cut "sugar high economics." a spokesman for leader cantor wrote "cantor has never believed this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy." david camp, also a member of the super committee told the a.p. "tax reductions no matter how well intentioned will put the deficit higher, making the panel's task that much harder." joining me now, msnbc contributor and "the washington post" columnist ezra klein. thank you for joining me tonight, ezra. >> good evening. >> we started this conversation on friday when i joined you on martin bashir's show that you were guest hosting, and we
talked about this payroll tax question, so i'm excited to get to extend this conversation with you. >> we should have a tax hour once a week. >> oh, okay, all right. now, extending the payroll tax will cost the government about $115 billion. there's no doubt republicans are right about this in the sense it will increase deficit, but how do you score it on its stimulative affects versus extending the bush tax rates. >> first, it's nice to see republicans admitting tax cuts cost money, from what mitch mcconnell was saying a year ago, that's an advance. the payroll tax cut is much more stimulative than most. here's why, the payroll tax, as you mentioned in your introduction here, it affects only the first $106,000 of your income. the people it ends up helping out are the people that have to spend their income to make things meet. what you want, and the reason tax cuts often don't work is a tax cut spent and not saved.
a tax cut needs to spend the money they earn. that will actually get into the economy much quicker and ends up being more stimulative. >> mitt romney told us they he preferred to see it happen on the employer side rather than the employee's side. but here, ezra, i really want to ask you this question, why not, if we're going to reinstitute this, why not just raise the cap so that instead of being at around the $100,000 rate it's at say $200,000 or $300,000 or every dollar earned would be subject to payroll tax. why is this the only assumption is employee versus employer side? >> because rich people don't like to pay taxes and they are powerful. a payroll tax is there to fund social security. if you raise the cap you'd raise 0.6% of gdp.
that happens to be the exact size of the social security shortfall. if you eliminated it, you would in one foul swoop close the social security tax gap, that would be it, you'd be done. it would be finished. now, if you say you don't want to do it because you'd prefer to raise retirement age, that's your prerogative, but that would be a very big step towards fiscal responsibility. >> so i feel like what i heard you just say and what we have started talking about last week is the idea on the one hand republicans appear to be willing to actually increase taxes on people who make $100,000 or less by allowing this tax cut to expire, but unwilling to imagine raising this cap so people who make $200,000 or $300,000 would be paying a fair share. i want to be completely clear that's what's happening here. >> absolutely. it's been striking as you've seen the republicans have a
marked and evident preference for tax cuts and if you listen to the rhetoric, you'll hear talk about how we can't raise taxes on those who create jobs, on the most productive members of our society and you get the theory they are working off is the people who drive the economy are the wealthy, the rich, people making a lot of money and presumably making a lot by hiring people. for the rest of us, it doesn't matter because we're not going to do anything that's that useful with it. that does appear to be the model the gop is working off of, if you look at the policy references and the rhetoric. >> nothing that useful, $1,000, buy some more groceries or help send your kid to school. ezra klein, thank you for joining me, and you are probably the only person i'd do a tax hour with. >> thank you for having me. coming up, ratcheting up the whacky in the gop presidential primary, and the one voice standing out as reasonable.
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see if america's most prescribed e.d. treatment as libya lungs towards freedom, america pauses to remember a leader who helped make our own nation free. it will be dedicated this sunday on the 48th anniversary of his generation-defining speech. but today america got its first look at the memorial on the
national mark. the martin luther king jr. statue was unveiled this morning. the centerpiece, a 30-foot tall statue of king. during his life, king disliked having a fuss made about him. he once told his followers that after his death they should not mention his great achievements but only remember him as "a drum major for justice." but despite his humility, this is a well-deserved memorial. it reminds us i won't have the fine and luxurious things to leave behind, but i want to leave a committed life behind. on abc yesterday, jon huntsman warned that opponents michele bachmann and rick perry are so far to the right that they are unelectable. will his plan to paint himself as the only non-wacky candidate work? that's next. and mitt romney has
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jon huntsman has had enough. as the republican party continues to be chased to the right by the tea party, one republican presidential candidate has decided to directly confront the extremism in his own party. huntsman's campaign hasn't jumped out of the single digits in the polls, unlike mitt romney and michele bachmann. in spite of or perhaps because of rhetoric like this. >> printing more money to play politics at this particular time in american history is treasonous in my opinion.
>> first rule of war is know your enemy, so i went to the inside to learn how they work, because i want to defeat them. >> we need to be free from this country from overregulation and free in this country from overtaxation, from overlitigation. >> the best thing that we can do is shut down and close the federal department of education. >> in texas we teach both creationism and evolution. >> i guarantee you the e.p.a. will have doors locked and the lights turned off. >> i'll work every day to try to make washington, d.c. as inconsequential in your life as i can. >> now in an interview on abc's "this week," huntsman warned republicans extremism could cost them the election and made a point of specifically criticizing bachmann and perry. >> i think when you find yourself at an extreme end of
the republican party, you make yourself unelectable. the minute we become the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. we'll lose a whole lot of people. i'm not sure the average voter 1 going to hear that treasonous remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate. gas prices just around going to rebound like that, it just simply is not founded in reality. >> would you trust a president bachmann to do the right thing with the economy? >> well, i wouldn't necessarily trust any of my opponents right now who were on the recent debate stage with me when every single one of them would have allowed this country to default. >> so that's what huntsman said, will republicans listen? consider what happened in 1964 when the republican party was enthralled with berry goldwater, nelson rockefeller, the governor of new york was practically run off stage when he tried to warn
the party about the perils of going too far to the right. >> the republican party is in real danger of subversion by a radical, well-financed -- we have no program for america, no program for the republican party, no program to keep the peace and bring freedom to the world. >> shortly after that speech, republican delegates dominated go goldwater. he went on to lose to lyndon johnson. no presidential candidate from either party has managed a bigger electoral victory since. joining me now, msnbc analyst and "the huffington post" reporter alex wagner. >> it's a pleasure to be here. >> that moment of film with nelson rockefeller is amazing from me that that's from 1964,
because it feels like he could be talking about the tea party right now. >> sure. >> so when huntsman takes this role, whoa, we are going too far to the right. what is the audience, what gap is he trying to fill? >> huntsman said i'm a center right candidate for a center right country. he's in the impression america is center right. if you look at the footage and we see just how far this country and this party, the republican party, has come to the right, i mean, it is now -- we are in a position where ronald reagan on a lot of things looks like a moderate. george w. bush worked across the aisle with teddy kennedy to pass "no child left behind." he had a more progressive position than anybody running for president. that was a handful of years ago and to a degree the question remains can we have a george bush in this election?
>> when i was driving down the ronald reagan freeway, yes, ronald reagan would be a much better political choice at this point. what's exciting to me about huntsman, we are always in a country that's generally divided, about 50% are republicans, 50% are democrats. we want a strong republican party, one that makes sense with real policy issues. is huntsman viable, though, or is this a repeat of '64? >> if you look at numbers, he's not viable, but his strategy, new hampshire elects presidents, south carolina elects presidents. he made a choice to sit out iowa. in that same interview, he called out america's almost heroin-like dependence on foreign oil. the guy is clearly making a very, very strong play for the center. whether there's going to be a center left after this fight we're going to go through in the next year remains t.b.d.
>> the fun thing would be to say if this was like '64, no matter what happens on the domestic economic front, president obama will be able to win in a lbg fashion, but that's not what the polls are looking like, it looks like president obama is tied within the margin of error with most of these candidates we're saying looks like goldwaters to us. >> in one poll obama was two points ahead of ron paul. but there are 15 million people out of work, people are angry, and i think to that degree, they want something that looks different, and anger and blood lust has a certain part to do with that. and, you know, change is something that people do believe in, but i think the president, on his part, has to make an elegant and forceful case that he can do something in 2012, because right now if he's reelected, i think there's a sense on the part of the american public that they don't
know what he stands for. they know he can compromise and will compromise, but in terms of ideals and what he'll do to help the country, there are a lot of questionmarks. >> is this the power of discourse, the framing. i was talking earlier about the president's successes in foreign policy, on the one hand it looks like we have a record of success of passing big legislation like health care reform, for example, but still the sense people feel like we don't know what he stands for, it there something governing here? >> look, i think he's had an enormous number of legislative accomplishments, and obama is inherently a complex, diverse person and some of these issues the republicans have managed to sort of dominate the argument on this. i think he's got to make a forceful case for himself, his administration, and what he's going to do and that will serve with a great contrast of what the gop is offering. >> alex, so great for you to be
here. msnbc contributor and columnist for "the huffington post," alex wagner. coming up, rick perry's campaign is saying that his book, "fed up," isn't meant to reflect his current views. so he doesn't think social security's a ponzi scheme? that's next. and even kate middleton is wearing her dresses to multiple public events to show solidarity with the british people. but mitt romney decides to triple the size of one of his homes while the american unemployment rate is over 9%? while energy developement comes with some risk, north america's natural gas producers are committed to safely and responsibly providing decades of cleaner burning energy for our country, drilling thousands of feet below fresh water sources within self contained well systems and using state of the art monitoring technologies, rigorous practices help ensure our operations are safe and clean for our communities and the environment we are america's natural gas.
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republican presidential candidate rick perry is barely into his second week on the campaign trail and already his team has had the first flip-flop mess to clean up. perry's communication director is trying to do damage control after news organizations like "the wall street journal" started taking a closer look at perry's book, "fed up." in it, perry goes after social security calling it "a crumbling monument to the failure of the
new deal." many american seniors who now live with dignity and security instead of hunger and fear, might disagree with perry, but the perry spokesman told the journal last week he has never "heard perry suggest the program was unconstitutional." maybe he too needs to read the book. sullivan said "fed up" is not meant to reflect perry's current views on how to fix the program. the book is a look back, not a path forward. it was written as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto. how do you think perry responded last sunday in iowa when asked what he'd do to replace the nation's entitlement programs. >> the whole issue -- have you read my book, "fed up"?
get a copy of it and read it. i talk about the entitlement programs in there. >> perry didn't steer people away from the book and his condemnation to social security, he sent voters straight there to answer a question about the path forward, and he added this. >> now, i know our friends on democrats side are going to jump and say those bad, old mean republicans are going to take away your social security and medicare, no, we're not. >> perry is both referring people to his book, the one that called social security a ponzi scheme and promises republicans won't take it away. on thursday with protestors outside holding signs reading "hands off my kst." perry was asked repeatedly to clarify and explain if he thought social security was really unconstitutional. perry ignored the questions and stuck to the photo op. and if perry's own camp is a judge, the road ahead will be filled with contradictions.
as the journal wrote, it was acknowledged in passages cold dog this presidential campaign. i don't happen to think flip-flop is always a bad thing. i think it's bad to punish a candidate or elected official to collect new information or develop new ideas. if leaders are willing to stop, listen, learn, evolve, that's good for them and us. president george w. bush, a.k.a. the decider boasted up his tenacious determination to stay the course, even when everything suggested the country needed to be taken on a new course. at my most charitable, i'd like to believe that rick perry is having a moment of clarity that would allow him to see the danger in declaring america's crucial social safety net unconstitutional. even if he's having trouble saying it. but when his staff tells you to ignore what he wrote in a book less than a year ago and when
perry answers policy questions days ago by saying read the book, then maybe i and all of us need to evolve in our thinking and look how similar rick perry and george bush really are after all. coming up, mitt romney says he understands all that stuff about unemployment. he's unemployed. he's so unemployed he's got time to plan for one of his houses triple in size. ♪ [ male announcer ] this is our beach. ♪ this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun, and we have ours. now during the summer event get an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz for an exceptional price. but hurry, this offer ends august 31st.
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bumps on the road to recovery. ♪ ♪ >> i'm an american, not a bump in the road. >> so while many americans struggle to pay their underwater mortgages and face home foreclosures, romney is taking a surprising step that's about as sensitive as the time he joked to a group of unemployed floridians. >> i'm also unemployed. >> romney's campaign confirmed today he plans to bull doze his $12 million beach house in california and build an 11,000 square foot beach house in its place. in addition to the california house, he also owns a townhouse outside boston and $10 million home in new hampshire. why should we care? i have not believed just because a person is wealthy he or she can't provide help in tough
economic times. f.d.r. who led the country out of the depression. but romney's policy positions reflect his belief that corporations are people, and that the wealth of the top 1% should be protected to the expense as everyone else. so before romney cuts another ad portraying himself as the hero of the downtrodden and working class, he should recall another ad in 2008 that could be easily recycled this time around. >> when asked how many houses he owns, mccain lost track, he couldn't remember. well, it's seven. seven houses, and here's one house america can't afford to let john mccain move into. >> joining me now is jonathan capehart, "washington post" editorial writer and msnbc contributor. >> how are you? >> i feel we always bring you in to do the snark thing on the gop. >> it's too much fun. >> it is, but is it legitimate?
look, presidents are wealthy people, they have ivy league degrees, is it okay for us to make fun of mitt romney for bull dozing his beach mansion and building another in the same spot? >> when you put it like that, of course, it is. this plays into the narrative that unfortunately mitt romney unwittingly plays into. he's smart, he's handsome, he's rich, and on top of it, he's changed his policy positions on a whole host of things that sort of feed into, sort of makes you not want to like him in that way. remember in the 2008 campaign, there were stories going around how none of his republican opponents even liked him, so the fact that he has a fabulous beach house in california, he's bull dozing it and he's going to build an 11,000-square foot house in its place, you know, it's just you look at the guy like really, you were just there in that diner in florida saying you were unemployed, and even
when he did that we crossed our eyes saying are you serious, really, are you serious? >> is it a timing issue? look, we spent last week asking should the president go on vacation to martha's vineyard, i was one of the people that said he can go and everything, so is this really just timing? i mean, he is a millionaire, he can build as many homes as he wants, but you have "vanity fair" talking about the big things that could fit inside his house. is -- >> i have others too. >> what did you have? >> you could fit three times the area of air force one in that space, it's 4,000 square feet, and just for comparison's sake, president jefferson's estate is just a little bit -- they are
about the same size at 12,000 square feet, and then both of al gore's homes he was made fun of, the mansion in tennessee and the villa in california, the villa is twice the -- half the size of romney's new compound, and the tennessee house is just 1,000 square feet smaller than romney's. >> one could argue monechello was built with slave labor. >> right. >> but look, is there something -- i recently moved from princeton, which is a privileged enclave to a struggling neighborhood in new orleans, it was a choice my husband and i made because we wanted to be sure we were part of the work that we care about, right? and it is true you get a completely different perspective in different kinds of communities. is there a danger to being represented in the federal
government, in local government, in any of our representations, elected representations by people who live in protected bubbles and don't experience what this economy is like for most people? >> absolutely. people want to go into the voting booth and vote for someone they feel gets what their life is like, especially in downed economic times when people are struggling and hurting. remember when george h.w. bush was on the tour, the supermarket and did the scanner thing. it's not that he didn't know it was an electronic scanner, but it played into a narrative that h.w. bush was someone who was removed, attached, totally unaccustomed to regular americans. >> jonathan capehart, thank you for joining me tonight. >> thanks, melissa, good to see you. >> you can have the last word online at our blog and you can